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Publix, Hy-Vee, Chick-fil-A top in customer service, according to research

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Waban, Mass. — Research results released Wednesday by Temkin Group put grocers Publix and Hy-Vee along with credit unions and Chick-fil-A at the top of its 2012 Temkin Customer Service Ratings, which examines how U.S. consumers rate the customer service of 174 large companies across 18 industries.

Other high marks were given by consumers to H.E.B., Sam’s Club, Winn-Dixie, ShopRite, Aldi, Starbucks, Giant Eagle and J.C. Penney.

At the other end of the spectrum, consumers gave the lowest ratings to Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Citibank, Qwest, Cigna, and Bank of America.

The 2012 Temkin Customer Service Ratings is based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers in January 2012 that covers the following 18 industries: Airlines, appliance makers, auto dealers, banks, car rental agencies, computer makers, credit card issuers, fast food chains, grocery chains, health plans, hotel chains, insurance carriers, Internet service providers, investment firms, parcel delivery services, retailers, TV service providers, and wireless carriers.

“Customer service is a critical moment of truth for many customers,” said Bruce Temkin, author of the research and managing partner of Temkin Group. “It’s nearly impossible to deliver an overall great customer experience if you don’t get customer service right.”

Temkin Group examined industry averages and found that grocery chains were the only industry to earn a “strong” rating. Retailers, fast-food chains, appliance makers and investment firms round out the top five.

Temkin Group also analyzed changes in Temkin Customer Service Ratings between 2011 and 2012. Only one retailer had double-digit declines: Old Navy.

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David’s Bridal and RCS team on lease renewals

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — New York City-based RCS Real Estate Advisors said Tuesday it has been retained by bridal retailer David’s Bridal to facilitate lease renewals on behalf of the retailer.

RCS said it has expanded its previous engagement with David’s Bridal to provide lease renewal services for over one-third of the retailer’s more than 300 U.S. David’s Bridal store locations.

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Former Nordstrom exec joins board of shopper app developer

BY Staff Writer

Seattle — Former Nordstrom executive, Loretta Soffe, has joined the advisory board of Zoomingo, which creates shopping discovery apps that help consumers find the best sales in their local stores anywhere in the nation.

Soffe spent 24 years at Nordstrom in buying, merchandising and product development. For the last 10 years, she served as EVP, general merchandise manager of women’s, the largest division in the company with annual sales of $2.0 billion.

"We are delighted to bring on board Loretta Soffe who brings significant consumer retail and merchandising expertise," said Shirish Nadkarni, co-founder of Zoomingo. "Loretta will play a critical role in helping Zoomingo develop both its consumer and retail strategy especially as it relates to making Zoomingo an attractive platform for retailers to reach new mobile audiences."

Zoomingo — a take on "Zoom-in-and-go" — is a unique location-based shopping app that lets consumers find the best sales in their local stores anywhere in the nation, all from the convenience of their smartphones or from the comfort of their home computer. Zoomingo offers shoppers instant access to the largest catalog of local sale items anywhere in the US across more than 70,000 retail outlets from national retailers such as Macy’s, Target and Nordstrom as well as independent boutiques in an easy-to-browse, easy-to-use format. Handy phone numbers and store maps allow the shoppers to visit the stores to complete their purchases.

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